Bruised and battered, Shane Victorino plans to start Game 6

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Shane Victorino’s right hand was bruised and swollen after being plunked by a 93-mph A.J. Burnett fastball in the first inning last night and he played the next seven innings in obvious pain before Ben Francisco finally replaced him.
Victorino was clearly having trouble gripping the bat and making throws from the outfield, constantly grimacing and shaking his hand, but despite how bad the injury looked X-rays on his index finger came back negative and the Phillies’ center fielder plans to start Game 6.
Francisco would likely draw the Game 6 assignment in center field if Victorino ultimately can’t go. He’s a capable hitter, particularly against left-handers like Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, but the defensive dropoff from Victorino to Francisco is huge.
In other words, today’s break in the schedule comes at a good time for the Phillies if it gives Victorino a chance to get reasonably healthy.

Report: Steven Matz has been pitching through pain, may need elbow surgery

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.

Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.

According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.

Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.

Clayton Kershaw’s simulated game went so well he threw an extra inning

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Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.

Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.